THE NOVEL OF IMPRESSIONISM 313 and not by knowledge, is worlds away from the man of letters to whom creation is a craft learned by rote and practised in tortured isolation. This preoccupation with the problems of degeneration and dis- ease culminates with Thomas Mann in his vast symbolic inter- pretation of life: Der Zauberberg (1924), perhaps the most deeply planned novel since Wilhelm Meister. Hans Castorp, the last scion of a patrician family in Hamburg, comes on a visit to his cousin, who is a patient at a sanatorium for consumptives at Davos; he comes for three weeks, he remains seven years, and leaves the place to fall in the Great War - rescued by a great cataclysm, re- turned from dream to duty. The Magic Mountain is a symbol of Europe before the First Great War; it is a questioning of all cul- ture. The Magic Mountain is the world of the dead: the doctor in charge is Rhadamanthus, all reckoning of time is lost, the in- mates eat greedily (it is a life from copious meal to meal), and fall in love, the diseased with the diseased. Hans Castorp is in love with a Russian lady (Madame Chauchat): that is, the cultured love beauty - but beauty is only the phosphorescence of a dead body. This, again, is the old medieval view of life which we call dualism. Life itself, Hans Castorp discovers, is the equivalent of death: for life is a process of decomposition just as takes place in the body after death; the only difference is that in life there is chemical renewal.1 Disease quickens the greed for food and love: so does culture. Hans is X-rayed: he sees his skeleton. But he keeps con- sciousness of the world of duty; there is a contrast between the bright daylight of the world of duty without and the soft moon- light in which he lingers hallucinated; afar is manly dignity, on the Magic Mountain there is Claudia Chauchat (like Vrou Werlt of medieval days) *schlaffy wwmstichig und kirgiesenaugig\ In The Magic Mountain all the resources of modern psychology, science, and criticism are massed and irresistibly brought into action in support of the thesis. There is an almost impossible delicacy in die use of psycho-analysis: e.g. sexual processes are suggested by the moving up and down of a pencil in a case un- consciously haunting the memory of a schoolboy, and there is some play, very effective in the diseased effulgence of The M0g& Mountain^ with the word Uebe as suggestive of two soft yielding 1 Der Tneb unserer Element* gebt wf Dewxydathn. Das Jusfen is Qxydation. Novalis.